While noting that there is “an unprecedented demand for doctors,” the Association of American Medical Colleges announced its support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2011 (PDF)
, new legislation that would increase the number of Medicare-supported medical residency slots by 15% and create about 15,000 new positions.
Residency positions have been frozen since 1997, and the AAMC said it estimates the new positions would cost about $9 billion over 10 years.
“Allowing doctor shortages to continue and even grow will have dire consequences for access to healthcare for seniors and other patients,” Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the AAMC
, said in a news release.
The bill was introduced by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and it also calls for the National Health Care Workforce Commission, which was established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to conduct a study identifying medical specialties that are facing a shortage of physicians. The bill calls for a report on the study to be submitted to Congress by Jan. 1, 2014.